In Wisconsin, a spouse has an ownership interest in the home held solely in the name
of the other spouse. If one spouse, who holds title in his name only, wishes to convey
a clear title (i.e., sell or transfer the home) to someone other than the spouse,
the other spouse would have to join in the conveyance, either directly or by other
written consent. The same is true if the married couple held the home property by
Note that this restriction applies only to home property. A home, for the purposes
of this restriction, is any shelter in which the individual or spouse has ownership
interest and which is used by the individual or spouse as his principal place of residence,
not to exceed 40 acres.
In cases where this restriction is found to apply and the value of the property causes
the claimant to exceed the resource limit, obtain a SSA-795 from the spouse regarding
Example A: Before their separation, Mr. and Mrs. Madison lived in a home in Wisconsin, which
Mrs. Madison had inherited from her parents. The house is in Mrs. Madison's name only.
She is the sole titleholder.
Two years ago, Mrs. Madison left her husband. He continued to live in the house. This
year he began receiving SSI. Mr. Madison does not hold title to the house and he does
not have the right to sell the house. The house, therefore, is not his resource. Yet,
he does have an ownership interest by virtue of the fact that Mrs. Madison is restricted
from selling the property without his joint conveyance. So, although he pays no rent,
he is not charged with support and maintenance for rent-free shelter because he has
an ownership interest (SI 00830.600).
Mrs. Madison, now living in Chicago, applies for SSI presenting a copy of the deed,
which shows she is the sole owner of her former Wisconsin home. The deed contains
no written restrictions against the sale of the property. However, she also states
that her husband is still living there and they have never been divorced. The sale
of the property, therefore, is restricted by the need for her husband's joint conveyance
or written consent to the sale. The FO must then contact Mr. Madison and obtain a
signed SSA-795 statement as to whether he would cooperate in the sale. If cooperation
can be obtained, Mrs. Madison can sell the property and it is a countable resource
and its value must be determined.
Example B: Mr. and Mrs. Madison have switched places.
Mrs. Madison, the titleholder, is now living on her Wisconsin property. Since she
has home ownership, she is in an “A” living arrangement. Because the property is now her home, it is automatically excludable.
There is no need to discuss the sale of the property.
Mr. Madison is now living in Chicago. He does not hold title to the Wisconsin property.
He unquestionably cannot sell it. It is not his resource. Its value does not count
towards his resource limitation. There is no need to discuss the sale of the property.
Example C: In this example, Mr. and Mrs. Madison own the property jointly. Mrs. Madison lives
on the property. Mr. Madison lives in Detroit. When he applies for SSI, he tells the
FO that he owns Wisconsin property jointly with his separated spouse who lives on
the property. The value of his interest in the property could cause him to exceed
the resource limit.
Under Wisconsin State law, Mr. Madison is free to convey his interest in the property
to Mrs. Madison. He is not free to otherwise dispose of his interest without her either
joining in the conveyance or giving her consent. The FO must contact Mrs. Madison
and obtain a signed SSA-795 statement answering two questions: 1) Would she consent
to the sale of Mr. Madison's interest in the property to another party? 2) If she
would not giver her consent, would she, if Mr. Madison made an offer, purchase his interest in the property for its going value? Be sure to annotate the
SSA-795: THIS IS NOT AN OFFER TO SELL; A “YES” RESPONSE, THEREFORE, DOES NOT CONSTITUTE ACCEPTANCE OF AN OFFER.
A “Yes” response to either question means that his interest in the property is saleable and
therefore, a countable resource. If both are answered negatively, Mr. Madison cannot
sell his interest in the property. Therefore, it would not be a countable resource
NOTE: There may be restrictions in addition to those listed above. If you become aware
of other restrictions or encounter questionable cases, submit them to ARC-MOS CRSI/SSI.